Yesterday I had the opportunity to babysit two of my nieces. While I would have enjoyed being in San Diego for Comic-Con, spending time with my nieces was just as enjoyable.
I was talking with Naomi, my three-year-old nice, about how she can set a good example for her younger sister, Leilani. Naomi said that she’s going to show Leilani how to use the potty, something for which my sister will be very grateful. I asked Naomi if she was going to tell Leilani how much Jesus loves her. Naomi said yes, but also added that Jesus loves stinky people.
Her comment made me laugh but it also made me think. Naomi said that Jesus loves stinky people but admitted that she has a hard time liking stinky people. If we were as honest as Naomi, we’d probably admit that we also have a hard time loving all of the people that Jesus loves.
It’s really hard for me to love needy people. I don’t have a high mercy gift and I’m a pretty self-motivated person. So I struggle when I come across someone who needs a little extra time and attention. I roll my eyes and wonder if Jesus is really calling me to love a needy person.
Like Naomi said, though, Jesus loves stinky people and he also loves needy people.
The reality is that we’re all stinky people. We’re all sinners who, apart from grace, would be really difficult to love. With all of my faults and arrogance, I’m surprised any of my friends or family love me. I’m amazed every day that Alycia chose to be wife. I keep waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind a bush and tell me that I’ve been punked for the last four years.
We’re all stinky people and it’s a good thing that Jesus loves us. Romans 8:28 reminds us that when we were at our most stinky and most sinful, Jesus still died for us. And if Jesus was able to extend us grace in that state, then we should follow his example. Fortunately we don’t love stinky people by our own strength; God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit enable us to love everyone, even the stinky ones.
What helps you love stinky people?